Second round of local elections on July 12, held with “relatively few violations”, reflect a “competitive political landscape” in Georgia, but pre-trial detention of ex-mayor of Tbilisi, Gigi Ugulava, contributed “to a tense pre-election environment,” the embassies of the United States, United Kingdom, and the Netherlands said in their joint statement on Sunday.
The three embassies carried out a joint observation of the June 15 local election and its second round runoffs on July 12.
“The Netherlands, United Kingdom, and the United States congratulate Georgia on another landmark election, one in which voters directly elected all mayors and gamgebelis (municipal executives) for the first time. Saturday's second round of run-off voting reflects a competitive political landscape,” the three embassies’ joint statement reads.
They carried out observation of the July 12 runoffs through 56 monitors, who traveled to 10 electoral districts and made over 300 visits to Precinct Election Commissions (PEC).
“We commend the monitoring efforts of other international observers and local NGOs, and our observers share their assessments of an overall calm voting environment, with relatively few violations reported among the over 1,525 PECs,” their joint statement reads.
“We congratulate the Central Election Commission for their professionalism in the successful administration of this election,” the statement reads.
“While the election day vote proceeded with only minor irregularities, the legal proceedings against former Tbilisi mayor Gigi Ugulava contributed to a tense pre-election environment. We continue to urge the government to uphold the highest standards of due process and judicial independence free of any political interference.”
“Now that the ballots have been cast, we encourage all parties to work together to promote economic growth, strengthen democratic institutions, and advance Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations. We look forward to working with the Georgian government, opposition, and civil society to build on our strong strategic partnership and focus on Georgia’s future,” reads the statement.